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One afternoon last week it was too hot in the shul, so we davened Mincha just outside the shul on the patio. The shul has an aron Kodesh, and while we were on the patio, and the Aron was visible through the window, the congregation fell on their faces during Tachanun. The door to the shul was locked.

I had learned that one falls on his face only in a shul that has an Aron Kodesh. We were not in the shul itself, but rather, on the patio next to it. Is that still considered a valid criteria for falling on one's face?

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Thanks to a hint from Ploni, I found in O.C. 131, Mishnah Berurah commentary #13 says that if the door were open, then one would fall on his face, as having the door open is as if everyone was still in the shul. However, if the door is locked, one does not fall on his face.

(I guess I have to ask my rav what was happening, here. More to come, IY"H.)

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    I think a more accurate translation for נעול would be "closed", as that is the opposite of "open". Furthermore, you didn't mention that even if it's open, if you can't see the Aron Hakodesh from your location, you don't need to fall on your face. – Ploni Jun 29 '18 at 23:37
  • @Ploni I included items in the answer that are relevant to my question. In the question, I mentioned that the Aron was visible through the window. – DanF Jul 1 '18 at 18:35

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